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Advisory Board

Curzon Building 682x300 - Front of Curzon Building

Business School Advisory Board

Andrew Connors 100x150Andrew Connors

Head of Higher Education and Charities, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking

Andrew is national Head of Higher Education and Charities and Regional Head Midlands for the Corporate & Institutional Coverage business within Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

Over a near thirty year career at Lloyds Banking Group he has held a variety of Regional and National roles across the Commercial and Retail Bank.  Andrew is also a Board Director, Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre, and an elected member of the CBI West Midlands Council. Andrew has an MBA and degrees in Banking & Finance and History and is an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers.


Professor Barny Morris

Associate Professor, Birmingham City University

Barny Morris is the Head of Department of the Department of Strategy, Management and Marketing. The Department has over 80 academics working across multiple subject fields and a diverse portfolio of courses. The department is currently engaged on  a variety of new initiatives focused on growth and portfolio diversity in areas such as Hospitality, Sports, Events, Operations and Digital Business. 

Barny’s research interests cover service experience, design thinking and emergent innovation and he is currently engaged on research investigating practice based innovation within the hospitality sector. Barny was previously in Industry for 20 years as a professional Marketer working on national and international branding, communication and design projects across sectors including Games, Food, Beverage, Toiletries, Automotive and Construction in which he managed design and account teams to deliver creative solutions to generate demand for product and services.

Barny brings his practice-based experience from industry to support courses within the Business School at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, whilst also delivering third stream activity to companies such as Greene King, Mitchells & Butler, Jewsons and Saint Gobain and via innovation workshops to local SMEs in the West Midlands area.


Diane Vernon 100x150Diane Vernon

CEO, EmployabilityUK

After eight years working in the third sector, Di created EmployabilityUK – an education charity designed to raise the aspirations of young people. In her previous role, Di was responsible for developing Career Academies UK’s regional strategy and delivering the national programme. Having built a team of regional managers and taken the programme to all parts of the UK she then went on to become Director of Business Development.

Di has more than 25 years of corporate business experience from BT and O2, including delivering BT’s education and community programme in the Midlands. Di has held a number of volunteering roles including 6 years as a Special Constable with West Midlands Police and is currently a Parish Councillor and fundraiser.


Deborah Leary 100x150Deborah Leary

CEO, Forensic Pathways

As CEO and Founder of Forensic Pathways (FPL), Deborah has responsibility for the strategic management and direction of Forensic Pathways, focussing particularly on the exploitation of its product and service offering to international markets and the Company’s commitment to Corporate Governance. 

Forensic Pathways is an international consultancy and technology design company, developing innovative technologies in the criminal and business intelligence field.  In addition, the Company provides and Due Diligence and Fraud Investigation services including Dark Web Monitoring and Social Media Investigations to a range of both private and corporate clients.


Fleur Sexton 100x150Fleur Sexton

Deputy Lieutenant of West Midlands

Fleur Sexton DL is Deputy Lieutenant, representing Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of the West Midlands, Businesswoman of the Year, MD and co-founder of multi-award winning PET-Xi Training.

Deeply committed to changing lives through education and employment, since 1995 she and her team have delivered impact, inspiration, productivity and value to 175,000 learners in a wide range of communities across the UK.

Fleur is dedicated to breaking barriers and improving chances, investing much of her time and 10% of profits into these activities. Also a board member of Coventry and Warwickshire Children’s Charity, The CW LEP Skills Board, The Chamber of Commerce, Historic Coventry Trust & Chair of the Coventry Music Trust. She is on the Development Board of Coventry City of Culture 2021 and the Commonwealth 2022 Legacy & Benefits committee.


James Walsh 100x150James Walsh

Head of Legacy, Birmingham 2022

James has spent the last 22 years working in the public, private and charity sectors to provide opportunities and working with partners to create social impact across the West Midlands.

Born and raised in Birmingham, James is passionate about maximising the legacy and benefits of the Games for local people. He is humbled to be a part of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to put the city, the region and its people on the global stage.

James is committed to ensuring that the Games is representative of the region and the people who live here whilst ensuring that everyone understands that the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games is a West Midlands event with Birmingham at its heart.  


Mark O'Sullivan latest photo 100x150Mark O'Sullivan

Managing Director, BanaBay

Mark is a multiple business owner and serial entrepreneur spanning the fresh produce, recruitment-creative sector, digital, tech and retail industries.

Prior to starting multiple businesses Mark had a 19 year career in logistics. however opportunity arose in the fresh produce import/export industry and this led Mark to the path of entrepreneurship and he hasn’t looked back.


Paul Brown 100x150Professor Paul Brown

Chair of the Business School Advisory Board

Paul is a Professor at Birmingham City University where he is also Chair of the Business School Advisory Board. He has an MBA from Warwick Business School and has studied in the US as part of an International Government leadership Programme at Harvard Business School and MIT.

He is a board member of the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership where he is Chair of the Access to Finance Group and the Business Competitiveness Group. He is also member of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Investment Board and an Operations Board member of the Midlands Engine.


Praveen Gupta 100x150Praveen Gupta

National Head of Tax, Baldwins

As part of this role, Praveen looks after a team of over 500 talented tax professionals who provide specialist advice to entrepreneurs, owner-managed businesses and large corporates.

Praveen’s strategic role focuses on setting and delivering the group’s wider tax strategy, developing our team and making sure that our clients receive the best advice and an excellent service. He also focuses on spending time with family-owned businesses and their stakeholders, advising them on their tax strategy by providing proactive and holistic tax advice.


Waheed Saleem 100x150Waheed Saleem

Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner

Waheed has worked across the public, private and voluntary sectors, regionally and nationally. He works with a range of organisations and individuals providing support and advice on organisational change, governance, business development and strategic management.

He graduated from the London School of Economics in Social Policy and is a fellow of the RSA. He has been instrumental in developing leadership programmes for young people and mentors in inner city schools. Previously he gained director level experience in the NHS working in several strategic areas in different parts of the country. 

He is a Trustee of the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity, Non-Executive Director Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust and a Member of the CVS Honours Committee.